Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Summer vacations bring about visiting friends, family and neighbors who have pools on their property. There are times that guests are unaware there is a pool on the premises and are ill prepared for the dangers their children may encounter at this event.
It is the responsibility of the host to let all attendees/guests know there is a pool onsite. Parents need to consider whether this is an event they want to attend, depending on the location and age of their children. Do all kids know how to swim, is there safety equipment available for children to use or do you need to bring your own devices?
Is there a fence around the pool, is there a diving board, how deep is the pool and how many people can it safely hold? What type of planned activities will be taking place at this party for children that do not involve the water? Is there a hot tub or spa on the premises?
Make sure you bring along sunscreen, towels, stroller, floaties, sandals and extra sets of hands and eyes to watch each child separately while in the water. When the designated person is watching the child in the pool they need to stay focused on their subject and not carry a cellphone, eat or converse with another person. All it takes is one minute to lose focus and shift your attention elsewhere to lose sight of the child and they are in another area or worse.
I would even suggest role playing at home and practice what you would do in case of an emergency. Find out where the bathrooms are located at the residence you will be visiting and locate all entrances to the home beforehand.
Plan for a Pool Party by the American Red Cross gives good tips on what to do and covers hiring Life Guards and identifying someone who knows CPR to be on hand at the pool area.
The owner faces Legal Liability if there is not a fence around a pool as was the case when a child drowned in a pool. Tommy Lee was cleared of charges when a child drowned at his pool party several years ago. As the result of another child drowning families are now hiring lifeguards and learning CPR.
Both my children are on the Autism Spectrum and have no formal training for swimming. I had hope to take Nicholas for some lessons after spring break but that has yet to take place. I do inform the summer camp that they do not have these skills. One possibility is the Rose Bowl Aquatics. They are vendored with the Regional Center.
Last year the news stations did segments on how children can swim for free here in Los Angeles at 32 locations, yet no one bothered to list a website or phone number for further details. A google search produced the Press Release.
For those considering having a pool party check your homeowners and/or renters policy to make sure you have adequate coverage, or purchase additional liability coverage. Be careful with children this summer season around water areas and when visiting other residences. Get prepared and keep safe.
Pool and Spa Safety Act
Pools are not the only drowning danger for kids
Autism Safety Tool Kit - National Autism Association
Prevent drowning inside the home
Secondary Drowning is also known as Dry Drowning
Drowning all too familiar to autism community